Increasing Participation

Clubs tend to be used the most on weekdays around 6-8pm and weekends in the mornings.

Think how you could expand that and fit in other groups that can use the facilities at other times – retired people, students, people who are able to work flexible hours or those who work shifts.

The spreadsheet attached shows the income that just a couple of groups of people can bring in but also consider the expertise. Imagine your group of friends and the variety of skills that you have between you. If you manage to impress a culture of volunteering on new members you will have an extremely capable team of people at your disposal. British Rowing can provide education and training for your coaches and other volunteers.

Any funding or support you apply for will probably be linked to increasing participation in some way whether at competition level or for recreational rowing, so make sure that your club is offering something for everyone.

Approaching local groups is a great way to market the club and to attract larger numbers of people. To start with try your County Sport Partnership, your NHS trust, nearby colleges and disability groups.

Remember the various reasons that people join a sports club, including:

  • To get fitter.
  • To learn a new sport.
  • To be involved with a friend who is a club member.
  • To make new friends.
  • To build self confidence.
  • To gain a new direction in life.
  • To be coached by a specific person.
  • To gain prestige.
  • To have FUN!
  • And for rowing, to be out on the water and in the open air!

If you can find out the expectations of the people you want to recruit, you can devise a programme of activities and training that is rewarding for them. This should help reduce the drop out rate.

Once you have new members, it will be really important to provide the widest possible range of things to do at the next stage of their rowing. Ideally someone should take the task of looking after any new people. This person needs to be reliable and committed as it’s really important that new members are encouraged to become part of the club.

…really important that new members are encouraged to become part of the club

This won’t happen if your new recruits spend most of their time standing around feeling lost. Remember that a rowing club will be completely new environment for most people – they won’t have the basic know-how that they would have if they were joining for example a football club.

The attached model represents the possible pathways that can be available for rowers at clubs. To maximise participation, clubs should think about being as flexible with these as possible, allowing members to move easily between groups if they want to vary the type of rowing they do or alter their commitment levels.

This is obviously just a model and can be adapted to suit your club’s needs. If you would like input from British Rowing staff on ways of developing your club please contact the Community Support team.


Growing club financial planning spreadsheet

Model Club Pathway

More in this section

Introducing Adaptive Rowing

There's nothing to stop clubs from offering some kind of Adaptive Rowing programme.

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Learn to Row

British Rowing's Learn to Row has been designed to provide a ready-to-go solution for clubs/water sport centres who wish to run introductory courses for beginners.

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Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promotion covers such a large amount of activity that it can easily get muddled and the message lost.

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